Donald Trump's inauguration: All the artists who said no

It's a long list

Roisin O'Connor@Roisin_OConnor
Thursday 19 January 2017 17:15
All the artists who have refused to play Trump's inauguration

Donald Trump finally managed to get some 'known' names together for his inauguration.

While he promised "plenty of movie and entertainment stars", the line-up announced still required a fair amount of Googling.

Unfortunately for Trump, more high-profile acts have turned down the chance to perform than accepted.

Here's the latest list of everyone to turn down the inauguration ceremony:

Elton John​

Elton John performs

This rumour was started by Anthony Scaramucci of the Trump transition team, who claimed that Trump would be “the first American president in US history that enters the White House with a pro-gay-rights stance. Elton John is going to be doing our concert on the mall for the inauguration.”

That sounded pretty definite. Unfortunately John's publicist Fran Curtis came straight back with a statement to the New York Times: “Incorrect. He will NOT be performing.”

John added his own thoughts in an interview with the Guardian, where he said: “I don't really want my music to be involved in anything to do with an American election campaign.

“I'm British. I've met Donald Trump, he was very nice to me, it's nothing personal, his political views are his own, mine are very different, I'm not a Republican in a million years. Why not ask Ted f***ing Nugent? Or one of those f***ing country stars? They'll do it for you.”

Andrea Bocelli

In early December it looked very likely that Bocelli would duet with America's Got Talent runner-up Jackie Evancho. Due to a serious backlash from his fans, however, Bocelli has reportedly pulled out of any potential performance.

Ice T

An odd one considering everything that Donald Trump's campaign said about Black Lives Matter and hip hop - more so when you consider the fact that Ice T penned a song called 'Cop Killer' which was written as a protest against police brutality.

But Ice T claims that the team did reach out to him, or at least joked about what would happen if they did.

Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

He wrote on Twitter: “I just got [called] to perform at the inauguration. I didn't pick up and blocked the number.”

Celine Dion

According to reports, Celine Dion didn't decline Trump because she didn't want to perform, but more because she was just too busy.

Dion is scheduled to perform at the Colosseum at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas on the day of the inauguration ceremony (20 January) and is unlikely to cancel due to fierce loyalty to her fans.

John Legend

John Legend performs in Los Angeles

John Legend has been vocal about the US election from the start. Asked for his opinion on why Trump was having so much difficulty in finding talent for the ceremony, he told the BBC: “Creative people tend to reject bigotry and hate.

“We tend to be more liberal-minded. When we see somebody that's preaching division and hate and bigotry, it's unlikely that he'll get a lot of creative people that want to be associated with him.”

Adam Lambert was fairly diplomatic when asked about whether he would perform at the inauguration for Trump, considering his active campaigning for LGBTQ rights and the appalling record Trump's current campaign team has on the same issues.

“I don't think I would take money on that one,” he told the BBC. “I don't think I'd be endorsing that. They might struggle.”

The Dixie Chicks

Dixie Chicks

Speaking to The Wrap, Dixie Chicks manager Simon Renshaw not only denied that the band would perform, but also gave an answer on the wider industry's reluctance to participate. “No one is prepared to normalise what is going on in the country right now,” he said.

“If anyone does do it, I hope that the cheque they get is in the nine figures. Because it's probably the last cheque they're ever going to get.”

Charlotte Church

Charlotte Church performs at The Lexington in London

The Late Night Pop Dungeon performer claimed she had been asked to perform by Donald Trump's staff.

It was a firm 'no' - Church criticised the team for apparently not bothering to check whether she supported him or not.

"A simple internet search would show I think you're a tyrant," she wrote on Twitter.

Rebecca Ferguson

Rebecca Ferguson performs in Germany, 2013

Ferguson said in a statement on 2 January that she had been approached by Trump's team to perform at the event.

She said that she would accept one one condition - that she sang 'Strange Fruit', the protest poem popularised by Billie Holiday - but it seems that Trump was unwilling to accept those terms.

Jennifer Holliday

Mr Trump has struggled to secure big acts to perform at the event which he insists will be ‘very special’ and ‘elegant’

Broadway star Jennifer Holliday accepted the invitation to perform but backed out after outrage from the LGBT and Broadway community.

Holliday, who is best known for her role as Effie White in the Broadway show Dreamgirls, apologised to her LGBT fans in an open letter, explaining that she did not realise her performance would be interpreted as a "political act".

"My only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT community," she wrote in a letter to The Wrap.

"I sincerely apologise for my lapse of judgement, for being uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans."

Bruce Springsteen/The B Street Band

The Bruce Springsteen tribute act agreed to perform at the inauguration celebrations but withdrew from the gala out of respect to The Boss himself.

"With deepest apologies to our fans and the New Jersey Inaugural Ball committee, the B Street Band is withdrawing from performing at this year's inauguration Gala," the band said in a statement.

"Our decision is based SOLELY on the respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band."

Springsteen was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign and condemned Trump several times prior to the elections. He called him a "moron" and accused him of "undermining the democratic tradition".

Kanye West

Kanye West

Technically Kanye was not asked to perform at the inauguration - to the surprise of many - despite going to meet the soon-to-be US President at Trump Tower, along with Trump's obvious need for an A-lister appearance.

Presidential Inaugural Committee chairman Tom Barrack said: "We haven't asked him. He's been great. He considers himself a friend of the President-elect, but it's not the venue.

"The venue we have for entertainment is filled out, it's perfect, it's going to be typically and traditionally American, and Kanye is a great guy but we just haven't asked him to perform. We move on with our agenda."

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments